Programmed by Mohamed Sifaoui
I wonder if you have to choose between being French, Jewish or Arabic. I go and visit each of my four grandparents, Algerian and Tunisian Jews who emigrated to France in the 1960s, to explore the meaning with them of these seemingly contradictory ethnic identities they bequeathed me. Unfortunately, my confusion is not particularly contagious.
For her feature documentary debut, Cléo Cohen, the main character in her own film, sets out to pursue history in the broadest sense, as well as her own personal history. In the bosom of a loving family, she embodies the quest for reparation and understanding belonging with accuracy and a gentle impertinence. The story isn’t over – perhaps it skips a generation to allow time to infuse the flesh and memories. The approach seems obvious, a matter of course, echoing other approaches by these grandchildren of decolonisation who experience the urgency of collecting the stories of people who may disappear at any moment. “Don’t you think you might have passed things down to me, without telling me?” the director asks her grandfather. It’s a rhetorical question. The answer seems to be yes and justifies her appetite to know more.
Mohamed Rochdi Sifaoui
Director General of Tënk